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Mugabe mourns reclusive brother

Robert Mugabe
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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has been mourning his reclusive brother who died from a combination of heart problems, diabetes and hypertension on Saturday.

Born in 1926, Donato Mugabe was barely exposed to the public. So anonymous he was in life that a Google search yields no result.

He was buried in Zvimba on Monday.

Mugabe, known to be fiercely secretive about his private life, used his brother's death to open up on his late father Gabriel Mugabe Matibiri, whom he rarely mentions in public.

In contrast, Mugabe has never wasted an opportunity to remember his mother, Bona, who was left with the task of raising the family when his father left for Bulawayo where he married another woman and had three children.

Mugabe described his late brother as "more practical", while he sees himself as "much more bookish".

Mugabe told mourners at his rural Zvimba home: "We take it as an act of God. No matter how lovely a relative can be, when their time comes, they go."

Mugabe revealed his father and mother married in 1918, and their first child - Michael -- was born a year later, followed by Raphael in 1922. Raphel died six months later. Robert Mugabe was born in 1924, two years ahead of Donato.

In his first public comments about events leading to his father's decision to leave the family and settle in Bulawayo, Mugabe revealed his father had been upset when Michael died of poisoning in 1934. He did not explain who poisoned his brother.

Mugabe said once in Bulawayo, his father took up jobs as a carpenter and farm labourer before marrying a second wife. He had three children with his new wife, Mugabe revealed, although two -- David and Albert -- have died. Regina Gata is the survivor.

Seemingly intent on quashing widespread public opinion that he never forgave his father, Mugabe said he had in fact returned to the family in 1944 before dying a year later.

"He came back on the eve of his death," he said in comments reported in state media. "Of all the fathers who went to Bulawayo, there was no one who was as wise as my father."

Mugabe revealed his father had brought a lot of livestock back to Zvimba.


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